Kenneth David Kaunda

KK’S LAST SPEECH AS PRESIDENT ON THE EVE OF 31ST OCTOBER, 1991 EARLY ELECTIONS SCHEDULED FOR 1993


Text of Television and Radio Address

by President Kenneth Kaunda

October 30, 1991

My countrymen and women,

As a fellow citizen of this beloved beautiful land of Zambia and as one among you privileged to be the president of your Republic at this historic moment, I speak tonight to reach the innermost part of the heart of each and everyone of you as countrymen and women and citizens of this, our one and only home, Zambia.

The 8 million of us — children, women and men — have no other country, no living space we can call our own on this planet except this little peace of land God gave us through our forefathers. Its air, water and resources are the only means we, 8 million Zambians, possess today for our livelihood now and the livelihood of many generations of Zambia who must come after us in the times ahead.

In the interest of our own lives as Zambians now and for all future, we have, as our direct challenge, the unavoidable obligation to defend this land for ourselves and to protect the lives of our people —each and every Zambian — in this land wherever they may be regardless of their name, regardless of their community, regardless of their District and regardless of their province.

Every Zambian is inseparable from every other Zambian. Every

Zambian is an integral part of every other Zambian. Where,

therefore, one Zambian rises, all Zambians rise. Where one Zambian

falls, all Zambians fall. The loss of one drop of blood from one

Zambian is a loss of a drop of blood from all Zambians.

The fate of one Zambian is the fate of all Zambians. It is the

fate of all of us. This is so whether we like it or not. If anyone of us works to ignore this fact for any reason at all, then the action of

that brother, that sister takes the life of every Zambian towards no good whatsoever.

This land, these resources, this population in order to hold together as Zambia, we ourselves must hold together as Zambians – all of us together — regardless of whatever we may think, say and do about ourselves and about any subject. And, indeed, regardless of whatever anyone else may think, say and do about us and about any matter concerning us. Zambians to remain Zambians must allow nothing, I repeat, must allow nothing to break this binding oneness as Zambians, if this land, these resources and this population are to remain free.

Countrymen and women, this is the oneness of Zambians, the integrity of our Fatherland which we must take into polling day that falls upon us tomorrow. The polling day that takes place tomorrow is a Zambian thing, created by Zambians for the purpose of holding the Zambians together in a balanced political process in order to establish and maintain an open interaction for the development of Zambian lives as a people who are more free than before within their own country.

The presidential and general elections, for which Zambians go to the polls tomorrow were designed by us Zambians so as to build this land for our own good in a better manner than we have done these past years. These elections are Zambian in thought, word and action.

On polling day tomorrow and after polling day, what comes out of the election process must continue to remain Zambian in thought, word and deed.

We as Zambians started to think, speak and act to bring out these elections for the good of Zambians. We must complete them tomorrow for the good of Zambians. We must all accept the end results of what we have thought, said and done together during these past months of creative action. The people of Zambia have followed our thoughts, have listened to our words and have observed our actions and tomorrow they pass their honest judgement on our total performance.

The people of Zambia’s judgement which come out of polling day tomorrow must be accepted by all of us — each and every Zambian — with humility, an open heart and a totally clean mind.

Countrymen and women, polling day tomorrow will complete two national tasks for our country. Firstly, it will establish the political mechanism by which the people working from several political parties will be able to choose from among the political groups a government for themselves. This is a mechanism the people have set out for all future times. Secondly, one political group will be chosen to be the Government tomorrow when they apply for themselves this new democratic process.

It is important for our country that all of us as individual citizens and as political groups respect these two decisions of the people so that our country can move to the next tasks of development.

As we work to improve our political system, we have to appreciate that elections are not an end in themselves. They are only a means to an important end. That important end is a good government for the people under which as individual citizens they are free to work for themselves and build their own material and spiritual lives to the best of their abilities without let or hindrance across their national life and across the resources of their country.

I want, therefore, to urge each and every fellow citizen — every Zambian without exception — to do their uttermost to ensure that we go into polling day peacefully, we come out of polling day peacefully and we continue with that peace in order to give maximum opportunity to those chosen by the people to set up and operate a good government for Zambia.

The truth is that under the political system which the people of Zambia have now accepted to set up, there are no political losers just as there are no sole and permanent political victors. Those who go into position are still an active catalyst to good government. Indeed, an integral part of the people’s government. Those who win the first place go into the people’s government are not going into that government alone. And, in any case, at the next elections, or even before that, the people may again decide to re-arrange the whole set up for themselves. They have the power and freedom to do so.

So, Zambia as a country has now created for herself a good system for changing its own government in a popular-democratic manner. It is important that as we go into polling day we pledge ourselves to continue steadily to build upon our new democratic system. We must restrain ourselves from political excesses, political selfishness and political ill-tempers which can destroy our new system.

While we remain active different political parties and groups we must, at the same time, be ready to give and take among ourselves because we are one national political family which is defending one national interest. We must be alert and quick to reconcile in all situations of national conflict that may arise because we are an integral part of one another. We share national life together.

We must do more. We must give no leverage whatsoever to any external enemy or even friendly interests that work to divide us to our own peril. We have to learn very fast that all important democratic lesson which has eluded many, that different political parties or groups in one country are not sworn enemies who must kill and destroy one another. On the contrary, they are people groups that are necessary to preserve and, indeed, must preserve to assist the population to have an intensive and extensive democratic dialogue on the life issues within their own and only country.

Countrymen and women, political parties and political pressure in groups in Zambia are just different sides of the same golden coin of national interests. If these sides are removed or frustrated then the national interest represented by that valuable coin will become invisible to people

In emphasizing this point, I want to say, UNIP needs MMD and MMD needs UNIP. Both MMD and UNIP need the other political parties which are struggling to build up their own active lines of political thought, word and action in our country.

Each political party is a window which allows the people with different vision in our population to look at the vital body politic. The more our population can see the different sides, angles and facets of their body politic, the more they will know what is politically best and most useful for them to do for themselves.

All political parties and groups in our country must treat one another as sister parties and sister groups. Yes, they must compete but they do so within the family and to serve the same family members. They do not compete within the family to kill the family, to kill the family members or to kill all the sister political groups.

The people of Zambia must build in the Third Republic, a tolerant national pluralism centered on offering a broad and articulated political service to an active democratic population.

To come to the present stage of transformation, our political process in Zambia has come a very long way. Like the rest of Africa, we have been baptized not with water but with fire along this difficult road. The past hundred years have been the most formative and the last 50 years of these have been the most active to us as a united people and a rising nation. What the people have been able to build in the face of extreme hazards, especially in the past 30 years must not be destroyed. We must improve upon and break up a new and wider ground of development in the Third Republic.

The future for Zambia is positively bright. Any people who have not just participated but given active leadership in the kind of hazardous political environment such as Zambia has gone through in Southern Africa can never fail when in triumph and final victory that hostile political environmental changes for the better. While Zambia receives no thanks from many and, indeed, we do not need any thanks from anyone, Southern Africa would not be what it is today if Zambians had not paid the highest price for this region. God knows.

Zambians must now use that unparallel experience to build the Third Republic which is emerging out of the ballot box tomorrow. With a liberated Southern Africa, our Third Republic will not only be dynamic but must be fully democratic in all areas of human endeavor — political, economic, social and cultural scientific and technological as well as in the defense and security of our national interest.

Countrymen and women, I thank, on behalf of all the people community of Zambia and all their political arties, the international community who have come to observe and bear witness to our historic national transformation.

We are grateful to them all. Indeed, I urge all Zambians to continue to assist the observer groups in every way possible to enable them to carry out their tasks in the best way they know how. They must freely arrive at their own candid conclusions on the efforts we are making to go through this important political transitions successfully.

Fellow Zambians, let us all pledge ourselves to pull our country to greater political heights in the Third Republic. We can only do this by all of us accepting the historic decisions of the people as they will come out of the polling day tomorrow.

I welcome on your behalf, the Third Republic whose bright star we are all eagerly gazing to see rise proudly upon new political horizon.

God bless you all

God bless all our political parties

God bless the Third Republic.

Thank you.


Kenneth Kaunda last speech on the eve of 31st October, 1991 as lifted “October 31, 1991 National Election in Zambia” by National Democratic Institute for International Affairs and Carter Centre of Emory University.

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